Jill Barrie

Primary Teacher

Dykehead Primary

  • Assessment For Learning

Using Traffic Lights as a Form of Self-Assessment to Inform the Next Steps in Learning & Teaching


‘Assessment is vital to the education process’ (OECD, 2008).  Assessment can take the form of summative or formative assessment. Summative assessment focuses on a final mark whereas formative assessment indicates the positives and negatives in the pupils’ work and how this could be enhanced (Robinson, 2017).  Formative assessment is fundamental in achieving effective learning and teaching (Black and Wiliam, 1998). An integral part of formative assessment is Assessment for Learning (AfL), a concept which puts emphasis on developing the quality of assessment implemented in the classroom and which supports Curriculum for Excellence developments nationally (Hutchinson and Young, 2011). Through exploring influences on learning, Hattie (2009) discusses assessment literacy where pupils are encouraged to be actively involved in their learning and its assessment to enable them to be more assertive in the progression of their learning experiences. As a group we discussed the importance of formative assessment and decided to focus our enquiry on self-assessment in the form of traffic lights to encourage the children to be proactive in their learning. We will use the enquiry to analyse the use of this formative assessment strategy to assess and support pupil progression.


The aim of this enquiry was to investigate the use of traffic lights as a form of self-assessment in the classroom during literacy lessons. During the enquiry both the blank traffic light stamp and self-assessment fans were used to explore the effect this would have on the pupils being able to evaluate their own work and learning progress. Hattie (2009) explains that this involves pupils understanding the goals they are pursuing and how these can be met. Clarke, Timperley and Hattie (2001) use the terms learning intentions and success criteria for the ‘what’ and ‘how’ of learning. Clarke (2014) notes that these are the fundamentals of formative assessment. The pupils used the traffic light stamp against their learning intention and success criteria to inform me how they felt about their learning at the end of each lesson. This in turn would hopefully help to inform next steps in learning and teaching.

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